Various Artists

Astro Sheen

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Give Geffen and its DGC affiliate a little credit -- during the alt rock gold rush of the early 1990s, when any band clad in flannel shirts, moth-eaten sweaters, or vintage baby-doll dresses could land major label deals regardless of musical acumen, Geffen's track record was much better than most, with the brains and the balls to sign top-shelf acts like Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Teenage Fanclub, Weezer, and Sloan. But the label also made more than its share of mistakes, and it's 20/20 hindsight that makes the 1993 sampler Astro Sheen of interest -- for every Nirvana ("Milk It), Sonic Youth ("Teenage Riot") and Counting Crows ("A Murder of One"), there's a now-forgotten signing like the Candyskins ("I'd Love to Take You Home"), Cell ("So Cool"), and Murray Attaway ("No Tears Tonight") whose failure to recoup probably cost some hapless A&R exec his job. Well, some you win; some you lose.